Stock Volatility as a Risk Factor for Coronary Heart Disease Death

Wenjuan Ma; Honglei Chen; Lili Jiang; Guixiang Song; Haidong Kan


Eur Heart J. 2011;32(8):1006-1011. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Aims The volatility of financial markets may cause substantial emotional and physical stress among investors. We hypothesize that this may have adverse effects on cardiovascular health. The Chinese stock markets were extremely volatile between 2006 and 2008. We, therefore, examined the relationship between daily change of the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) Composite Index (referred as the Index) and coronary heart disease (CHD) deaths from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2008 in Shanghai, the financial capital of China.
Methods and results Daily death and stock performance data were collected from the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention and SSE, respectively. Data were analysed with over-dispersed generalized linear Poisson models, controlling for long-term and seasonal trends of CHD mortality, day of the week, Index closing value, weather conditions, and air pollution levels. We observed a U-shaped relationship between the Index change and CHD deaths: both rising and falling of the Index were associated with more deaths and the fewest deaths coincided with little or no change of the index. We also examined the absolute daily change of the Index in relation to CHD deaths: in a 1-day lag model, each 100-point change of the Index corresponded to 5.17% (95% confidence interval: 1.71, 8.63%) increase in CHD deaths. Further analysis showed that the association was stronger for out-of-hospital CHD death than for in-hospital death.
Conclusion We found that CHD deaths fluctuated with daily stock changes in Shanghai, suggesting that stock volatility may adversely affect cardiovascular health.


Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a common cause of death and the leading cause of severe long-term disability in developed countries and some developing countries.[1,2] In addition to a number of well-established traditional risk factors (e.g. smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes), chronic and acute social and emotional stresses may increase the risk of CHD or worsen the symptoms of CHD patients.[3,4] For example, previous studies showed a link between traumatic events such as the September 11, 2001 attack,[5] the Hurricane Katrina in 2005,[6] the earthquakes in Wenchuan[7] and Los Angeles,[8,9] and an increased occurrence of cardiac events. Further, higher cardiovascular mortality was observed during holidays such as Christmas in the USA.[10,11] The fluctuations of stock market and financial difficulties may represent substantial mental and physical stresses that adversely affect cardiovascular health. In particular, the financial markets of major world economies were extremely volatile in the past several years. However, to the best of our knowledge, few studies have investigated the potential impact of financial market volatility on cardiovascular health.

In a short period of 3 years (2006–2008), the Chinese stock markets experienced unprecedented growth and collapse. Unlike developed countries, the Chinese stock markets are full of inexperienced individual investors who often gamble with their investments and have unrealistic expectations of financial returns.[12] We, therefore, examined the relationship between daily changes of the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) Composite Index (referred to hereafter as the Index) and CHD deaths during 2006–2008 in Shanghai, the financial capital of China.


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